There are three steps that anyone developing a website should take. Failing to follow these steps is a sure way to waste time and money and may even lead to an unsuccessful site.
These steps are:
- Setting goals for the site. Why are you building the site? There may be many reasons. Some of the reasons may overlap each other, and some may conflict with each other. Common reasons for building a site are: gaining exposure, selling products or services, and offering customer support. List all your reasons for putting up a site, and then condense them down to a short list of site goals.
- Determining your audience. Who do you want to attract? Your audience springs from your goals. For example, if the goal of your site is to sell products, you obviously want to determine the demographics of buyers. On the other hand, if your main goal is offering customer service, you know your audience is people that have purchased your product. When you determine your audience or audiences, don’t limit your vision by your offline experience.
- Determining the goals of your audience. What are visitors to your site looking for? It’s usually best to get this information straight from the source. Talk to the people that use your site, or that you expect to use your site. Some of their goals may be: finding the best deal on your product or service, getting information on these products and services, and getting customer service.
Often, site owners don’t take the time to set goals and determine their audience. This results in an unfocused site that meets no one’s expectations. Users come and can’t find what they want, while the site owners don’t get a good return on their investment. (more…)